The relationship between Google and publishers has always been pretty clear (at least in my mind). Google will reward publishers with traffic in return for listing their content in search results so they can surround it with ads. It’s a relationship filled with trust issues. Those issues have been exacerbated by various Google updates over the past 2 to 3 years.
This morning I was compiling a new presentation and was looking for some information around the “cost of an inbound marketing lead”. The result I got was:
Google is taking content straight from HubSpot’s blog and showing it word for word on their search page. This one stat was part of a report that was compiled from surveying over 5,000 marketers. Considerable time and effort went into producing that post and creating that stat. Yet Google feels it’s OK for them to simply scrape it from the HubSpot blog and show it on their site.
This appears to be part of Google rolling out their new #GoogleNow service (thanks to @glenngabe @GregKristan @jonathandeamer for pointing this out).
I’ve mostly seen Google do this for Wikipedia results:
In this case HubSpot outranks Wikipedia for the search query “what is inbound marketing”, yet Google reduce the positives around that by scraping the Wikipedia page and showing it on top of the organic search results.
These kind of features from Google are starting to make the penalties they dish out to webmasters pretty hypocritical. When Matt Cutts asked for examples of sites outranking other sites with scraped content, he probably didn’t like the answer he got:
On one hand Google tells webmasters to focus on creating quality content and they will be rewarded for it, on the other they are scraping that content to make ad revenue from without compensating the publisher adequately for the time and effort they’ve invested.
Of course you can’t simply block Google. A huge percentage of all publishers traffic come from Google and there in lies the problem. Google can make up the rules as they go along.
But at some point is Google is going to push too far? If GoogleNow is going to be a new service powered by other sites content, how are those sites going to be fairly compensated for that work? Historically their reward was an organic visit, but it appears Google may prefer to keep those visits for themselves in future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kieran Flanagan has a proven track record in helping SaaS businesses, from start-ups to enterprise-level grow their traffic, users and revenue. He is a thought leader on growth marketing and speaks at events across the globe on the topic. For more frequent updates follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.